Sweat and Tears: In the Gym with a Cape Girardeau Personal Trainer

By Ethan Worthington, Multimedia Journalist
Spring 2012 Public Information Office Intern

You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get quality personal training. Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department has plenty of trainers and affordable prices to help you get healthy on a budget. Public Information Office Staff Reporter Ethan Worthington worked out with trainer Becky Towe at the Osage Centre, and he walked away with a few less calories and a lot more confidence.

Exercise science tells you that you need a proper warm up before starting your work out. You’re heating up your muscles, prepping your body for the pain ahead. As I began my workout with Personal Trainer Becky Towe my mind wasn’t saying, “This is good, you’re preventing injury.” It was saying, “This hurts, and it’s only a precursor to more pain ten minutes from now.”

Nonetheless I push myself. Deep inside me, beneath the layers of unhealthiness I’ve piled on top of myself from a combination of horrible eating and compulsive lounging, burned a fire. I didn’t know why, but I had something to prove to my trainer.

Five minutes in on the elliptical machine I think to myself that this is going great. Five minutes after that I wish this was all over, but it is only just beginning.

“You don’t have to go so hard on your warm up,” says Towe, “You’re going to get there, take it easy.”

Next we go into a more private training room. Towe has me lie flat on the floor and shows me how to do a “Superman”. I begin the Superman lying face-down on the floor, and as far as I’m concerned it’s the best workout ever conceived.

Then the real work begins. Towe instructs me to lift my arms and my legs up simultaneously, leaving only my torso on the floor, and then to lower myself back to the mat. Being as flexible as steel and already in pain from my overzealous warm up, the Superman proves to be intense.

Towe then makes me get up on my hands and knees and has me raise an opposite arm and leg to work out my core. This doesn’t prove to be as tough but the pain was yet to come.

My final workout is a wall sit. I get into squat position, lowering my knees until they are even with my toes, and press my back against the wall. I immediately begin trembling, sweat is rolling down my face, and I can’t do it anymore. I collapse to the ground.

“You’re doing great. Walk it off,” says Towe, “If you fall it is ok. Just keep going.”

I get back into position and twenty seconds later I’m done with the wall sit. I get up stiff, in pain, and no doubt a better person for the experience, but I don’t care about that. All I want is a drink of water and a massage.

Surprise, Towe’s not even close to being done with you soldier. Time to repeat it all. Twice.

Towe is one of several personal trainers that the City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department has to offer. She has been a trainer for over eight years. With a background in the medical field Towe was going through life seeing everyone on a bad day, so she wanted to help people lead a healthy life and not go through the experiences that come with an unhealthy lifestyle. She began her training career with Gold’s Gym and eventually began working for the City’s fitness program in June 2011.

Towe’s personal philosophy for diet and exercise is balance. “I take an approach to training that is healthy. No extremes to one way or the other. Just a healthy balance of diet and exercise,” she says.

Towe encourages people to use the resources offered by the City’s fitness program. “A: We designed it to where it’s affordable to everyone. We take pride that it doesn’t take half your income to be healthy,” says Towe, “And B: The City has me. Nobody else has me.”

According to Towe, statistics show that 85 percent of people exercise incorrectly, leading to ineffective weight loss and injury. Taking advantage of the City’s affordable facilities and experienced staff increases work out safety and can help anyone become healthy, no matter their walk of life.

By the time I left my training experience, or rather ordeal, I felt like I could conquer anything, after a good nap that is. But in the morning, despite the pain and the stiffness, I was that much closer to the healthy body that I need.

There is no doubt that personal trainers are tough, but sometimes it’s that toughness that we need. Trainers provide insight, advice, and that extra push that many of us need to get the job done. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a person with you at the gym that you want to impress.

For more information on Cape’s personal training options visit cityofcape.org/personaltraining or call the Osage Centre 573-339-6342.

Other fitness classes, centers offered by Parks and Recreation: cityofcape.org/fitness.

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